Scott Loach welcomes keeper competition ahead of what he believes can be an ‘exciting’ season
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town keeper Scott Loach is determined to secure his place in the side ahead of what he believes is a season full of promise.
The boyhood Blues fanatic was in-and-out of the team in his debut campaign at Portman Road as Stephen Henderson twice was brought in on loan from West Ham.
Now experienced custodian Dean Gerken has arrived on a free transfer from Bristol City, insisting he won’t be content with simply warming the bench week-in, week-out.
Loach – who saved a penalty and pulled off a spectacular second half stop in Saturday’s 1-0 pre-season win at Barnet – says the competition has only served to fire him up though, with the 25-year-old excited by the squad that Mick McCarthy is building at Portman Road.
“I don’t know him, but I know his reputation,” said Loach, when asked about Gerken. “People keep asking me ‘are you scared’ and this and that, but I knew I was never going to be the only keeper. Me and Gerks shared a room in Ireland so there’s no hatred there whatsoever.
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“Just like when Hendo was here, I’ll work hard and try and keep him out. He’ll work hard to try and keep me out too. It’s just a case of pushing each other.
“I’m not going to lie, at Watford I was cruising. You get to a point where you think ‘there isn’t anyone pushing me’. You take your foot of the pedal and kind of go a bit stale.
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“You need someone to push you and I think when Hendo came in that helped me last season. When I got my chance again I wanted to prove something and I felt I did that. I feel I’m doing that again now in pre-season.”
Christophe Berra, pictured, will become Town’s eighth signing of the summer today – the Scottish international centre-back following Gerken, Paul Anderson, Cole Skuse, Frederic Veseli, Jay Tabb, Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick through the door.
It’s understood that transfer-listed Michael Chopra is closing in on a move to Sheffield Wednesday, while 18-year-old Irish winger Jack Doherty could complete a switch from Waterford United today.
Conor Henderson – a 21-year-old Irish Under-21 international midfielder recently released by Arsenal – is also due to be on trial with the Blues this week.
“As a fan of this club, I’m excited about this season,” said Loach. “Just look at the team. We’re slowly building a good competitive squad.
“I wasn’t here in previous years, so obviously I can’t comment and I wouldn’t want to bad mouth anyone, but I’d say now this feels like a turning point and things are beginning to look bright.
“I was at Watford for years and I think this is the best team spirit I’ve ever experienced. We’re all together in the changing room, there are no little cliques or groups and we show that on the pitch.
“Pre-season has been awesome. Sometimes as a player you can think ‘I’m not looking forward to six weeks of hell’, but the manager has made it enjoyable and we’re actually looking forward to going in. He’s made it a good place to be.”